The Color Orange

Yesterday was a big day for many reasons. Our family observed Truth and Reconciliation Day in a way that was pretty special for us. It was also month end which meant farm business, music festival board business for me and a time to tally the stats for the Broken Bread Bakery. I have a series of captioned pictures to tell the tale.

Jill found this butterfly on the highway during the walk we took part in yesterday. It seems a good way to start this blog off. To me butterflies can symbolize transformation and they are so beautiful.
The last report from the Broken Bread Bakery was at the end of July since then I have pretty much met my goal of baking and sharing one batch of buns per week, on average.
This was a terrific day of baking, two batches in one afternoon happened when my neighbor Sheila came over. Baking bees like this will continue until I have seen to the baking of one bun for every child who died at residential school, some treated as entirely forgettable. This is a long term project. In August and September I was able to bake and share 362 buns. I had a couple of huge orders, 12 dozen for a trailride and six dozen to one individual. The flurry of baking for those allowed some weeks off from baking at other times.
The joy of working together at the counter was literally enriched by the generosity of folks who received the buns. The donations given for the healing fund in July and August totaled $375. This figure is lower than it might be because I donated 4.5 dozen buns to a bake sale. I counted those towards the remembering of children because honestly, with thousands of buns to make I need to stay focused on this unfolding memorial instead of for example baking cookies for the bake sale. I was mindful of those children as I baked. I tagged the buns as being from the Broken Bread Bakery and I said a little bit about the project. The entire project total so far is 644 buns baked and $1,020 raised for the Healing Fund of the United Church of Canada.
While in St. John’s we took in an afternoon at an amazing museum. There was a good display about residential schools within the museum. The thing that has struck me lately is how this school system impacted the parents and the grandparents. Children removed from ones life and all the everyday joys gone, in moments. It got me thinking about how much I loved bedtime routine with our kids with the book reading we shared. It was routine, the books well worn, one might say it was boring really and it was time consuming. But it was special and warm and good and essential. How would we have coped if all our routines had been taken from us?
It bothered me to read that a ship that shares my last name was used to transport children away to school.
I have this picture of a notebook Jill was creating in the summer, preparing for back to school. I looked at it and I said, “Jilly, even nature proclaims that every child matters.” I found the Liz Griffin pictures that she used, and a couple different ones, they are here with my interpretation of the parent child dynamic at play. The brown surroundings reflect the time of year, it was just before the spring burst of color. The cows look rough. They had just weathered winter and been thru the birthing time and they definitely needed a bit of time to reemerge in their beauty.
“I am your Mama and I need to wash your face.”
“We are together and so the world is at peace.”
“I WILL protect you. I will not let them near you.”
“Your aunties and I, we got you, stay near.” (This was a pen with three Moms who had birthed twins and were each successfully raising both calves.)
“My sense of smell is going to keep you well, just don’t you worry.”
“I love you”
All of the things percolating in us that you read above made it important for us to be a part of the walk that was hosted by Alameda United Church yesterday. A walk for truth and reconciliation. It was about a 4 mile journey up and down highway 9. Maybe people say, “why is that important, why are you slowing down traffic?” Maybe because nothing changes until it is seen for what it is. Maybe its okay to have to slow down and think, for us walkers and for the drivers too. Maybe that creates openings for the Spirit to be at work. Having said that I am tired and a bit overwhelmed by everything in the world. I was thinking about it later….the repetition of shaping buns and putting one step in front of the other is what I am capable of right now. I don’t have space in my head for deep learning. I will trust that God will take my steps and my buns and work with them.
It was awesome to have support from some folks driving by, like this flag bearing truck. The best were the semi truck drivers that blew their airhorns. We walked with friends on a beautiful fall day and perhaps made more concrete for ourselves who we want to be as individuals and as a family.
My friend ordered this flag and Russ and I took a turn walking with it for a while. That created a good chance for a picture but carrying my friends survivor sign for a while to give her a break, and bearing this flag both felt like sacred responsibilities.

The color orange is being transformed in our culture. In my world it was once the color I associated with halloween. Then as I got to know some bikers it became the color of Harley Davidson, then as we built our house it became a color of energy and we chose it for our kitchen. Now it is a color that speaks of honoring. Honoring and not silencing. Honoring and not shaming. Honoring through listening. Honoring difference and uniqueness. Honoring another even if it costs me a bit. It means living out what we say when we say that every child matters. It was the color of halloween, and I see maybe like a butterfly, the color orange is being transformed, can it become a color that when seen quickens the heart, sending out a signal that ingredients for hope and healing are not far away. May it be so.

July 31 Update – The Broken Bread Bakery

It has been a full month pretty much since The Broken Bread Bakery came to life. It really occupied my thoughts alot in the first part of the month, lately we have been pretty extra stressed on the ranch and I have just slipped it in as I could. Still, it was a fantastic month. The summary stats for July are as follows…………..

Buns delivered = 23.5 dozen (282 buns)

Donations received for “The Healing Fund” = $645.00

Pounds of donated flour = 140!

I feel great about this and thankful for the support of many people.

A Summary: It has been an inspiring month. As I have baked alongside other people I have listened to stories and heard the resolutions that people are making to stop negative cycles and patterns, to learn more, to have courage, hoping for a better future together with Aboriginal Canadians. That is quite something. I have made new friends and enjoyed old ones.

Favorite quirky moment of the month: happened when I texted one of my oldest friends in the world, in the middle of a work day in Los Angeles and asked him, “hey, do you wanna bake buns this afternoon?” On the off chance he was free to chat I thought I could pop in my earbuds and work on buns while talking over things. It didn’t happen that day but it will yet. It was fun to send a goofy sounding text.

Bonus Developments: There have been moments of connecting as messages have been sent back and forth to arrange for deliveries. Many of those deliveries have meant some face to face contact, still a bit of a novelty after a year with Covid.

Unexpected spin-off activity: My sister is very moved by the thought and intention with this bakery project. She asked if I would mind if she started a branch in Saskatoon. I am happy about this. Margie’s specialty is cinnamon buns and her life puts her in contact with a variety of people who could use a bit of encouragement, nourishment and care. Her branch of the Broken Bread Bakery operates by gifting baking to people she is wanting to support versus fundraising. She created a beautiful tag which she attached to a gift of baking she brought here. It now hangs on our Christmas tree. (We keep ours up year-round.)

Extra Reward: the chance to share the art of baking buns with a few people that wanted to learn more. I also was taught how to make bannock in the midst of things. Sharing the traditions that shape us is no small thing, it felt like a true gift to be taught about and enjoy fresh bannock. ( One small note……Although my Grandma K was known for her buns I was never taught to make buns at home. What I know now is a result of practice and trial and error in recent years and a few crucial tips from our local bun master, Cathy Finkle.)

A Serious and Lingering Dilemma: I am having trouble putting my thoughts to this but just how exactly do I/we honor the children for whom these buns are baked in remembrance of? There is to be one bun for every child treated as forgettable. How does one begin to capture the utter sacredness and solemnity of this? There were remains found of 215 children at the site of the Kamloops School. This means that I have now baked and delivered a bun for each of those children at Kamloops, the first discovered site. I should create a prayer ritual. But, I am tired, lacking deep thoughts, worried about so much and right now, it just feels like doing my best means doing the baking with its details. This week I got thinking about that part in the Bible where it says that the spirit intercedes for us when our sighs are too deep for words. At this time I have to lean on that, trusting that the spirit is at work through the rising I have been part of, the sharing, the reflecting and the generosity poured out by many.

We have been so immersed in haying with multiple challenges that I have been out of touch with much of the news. I have heard a bit that there are more remains being found. This project, baking one bun for each child is clearly going to be long term. Moving on to month two.

Our Family Canada Day picture, edited to reflect the support of the family for this bakery.
(They see alot of buns head out the door.)